Jackie Klanica and Steve Criado

June 27, 2017 (YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) – From designing album covers to custom portraits for members of the United State military, PALO Creative’s latest hires bring unique backgrounds to the creative department.

Steve Criado and Jackie Klanica, PALO’s senior designer and associate designer, respectively, both began with fine arts, though from different perspectives. Klanica, a 2015 graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, has always painted, but became interested in graphic design as a student at Canfield High School. Her dream job was to be a creative director, managing a team of artists. PALO plans to nurture that dream.

“I knew that I wanted to do something creative and make a career out of it,” Klanica says. “I like being creative, but there’s a part of me that’s very organizational too.”

That blend of creativity and organization sparked an interest in packaging design, including cereal boxes, album covers and cosmetic packaging. As a major in fine arts at YSU, she continued her focus on graphic design and worked as a project manager with Youngstown Design Works, a student-run design program that gives students real business design projects. She also completed an internship with Aim NationaLease, where she helped design the company’s print collateral, including brochures, folders and tradeshow booth signage. After graduation, she worked as a freelance designer working for an agency before coming to PALO.

Criado is self-taught in the ways of web design, business systems, mobile app design and user interface/user experience design (UI/UX), as well as graphic design. He worked a number of apprenticeships, including one at Ray Simon Art, which does custom artwork for professional sports teams, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, police, fire and branches of the U.S. military.

His work usually involved making digital versions of the airbrush portraits produced at the shop, separating all the pieces digitally and using them to build a collage. At the height of the war in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, the shop designed custom portraits for service men and women who were killed in action. Works included their service portrait and family photos.

“The work meant long hours and a very fast pace, but it was worth it,” Criado says. “We received a lot of phone calls from family members and loved ones who were very appreciative of the portraits.”

Wanting a more corporate experience, Criado spent nine years as Turning Technologies’ creative services manager where he managed a staff of four graphic designers to develop corporate websites and print collateral. That level of exposure built a solid background for large corporation branding and UI/UX design principals.

With their different backgrounds and work experiences, Criado and Klanica bring unique perspectives to the creative team that strengthen PALO’s ability to produce unique, high-end content for its clients, says its president, Rob Palowitz.

“Our team’s diverse work experience is key to our agency’s ability to bring something special to our clients, because each individual can look at a project from their own unique point-of-view,” Palowitz says. “It gives us an opportunity to teach each other, learn from each other and nurture a work environment that encourages creativity, while effectively delivering successful ad campaigns.”